Compiling from source is always better than from a binary pre-compiled package. You can choose enhancements etc from source something you can not do for a binary package. What does this mean, Intel have always through the past 20 years implicated instruction sets firmware drivers and special tailored microcode into there processors, AMD followed closely after Intel did this.
Still what has that got to do with software compiling? Each package you compile weather for windows or Linux, mainly Linux as windows only has a standard set(silly really as windows never uses the full potential of your expensive hardware so I never see the point of using windows on a high end system) of instructions so when you compile your windows applications its pretty standard usage flags etc. In Linux we compile our code with all these firmware enhancements, instruction code sets, memory data handling enhancements which are all specific to processors, chip-sets, memory and general hardware. This means you can take advantage of some amazing hardware features you purchased with your AMD or Intel system in everyday applications weather it is email, graphics games etc.
In windows these enhancements need to be built into the application so Autodesk, adobe etc have to make special DL Library's and special instructions to bypass the standard windows interface to take advantage of your hardware.
One great amazing thing about Gentoo is this is standard and compiled native across your entire system Yes every single application you compile and install is compiled native to your hardware. You can compile code on your Gentoo OS of course with non native options turning it into the standard interface that can be ported to another system of any type without taking advantage of your hardware's enhancements of course.
That's what makes Gentoo unique above everything its a robust open source operating system and educational.
The Commercial Software and Open Source model.
Of course for closed source software certain elements need to be scrambled as to protect the package from decompile and modification, this is done to try and stop software piracy.
In a fully implemented open source environment buying software is not the issue you would buy the service support etc for the application instead.
In this 21st century we really need to be looking at this approach to make a much better living for our digital life.
I explain this concept in layman's terms, If you wanted a stunning garden with fresh fruit veg and herbs you would have 2 basic choices to achieve this.
First you would be able to pick up a spade, digging fork, gardening tools etc wait for a nice weekend to attack your garden design its layout prepare the soil and plant all the plants etc you wished.
Secondly you could ask someone else to do it for you. Of course the person you ask to do it for you would require something for it maybe money, maybe groceries, or even help on something else he is unable to do. Not everything is down to money.
With open source its a way in which you are given the garden the soil so to speak. You can then begin to dig, turn fertilize, plant and grow your garden or ask someone to build it for you(gardener lets say)
You maybe thinking but wait I have to buy the soil. Yea in many cases you do and the same can be true for software if you buy the source code you technically buy the soil of course the source code could be stolen just as much as your soil could be stolen. Maybe you would choose to share your soil, you worked hard to fertilize mulch and nourish the soil and you want to see your neighbour better his soil so you would give him some of your soil. On and when he grows some better more nourished plantation he may have yielded a better strawberry for instance he could and most likely would return the favour by giving you some of his ripe lush sweet strawberry which with no word of a lie I am sure you would be great full for. This is the 21st century world I would like to live in not really one with a Microsoft badge on it, is it?.
The real dangerous problems! Yes there is dangers and you may be thinking oh yea and be way off, well think about this.
Microsoft Word DOC yes the word document file format. I think many of you are scratching your head right now and you would be right too.
Here is a embedded video of a very interesting video, a performance and lecture given by one of the most interesting people who invented the Internet NOTE I said Internet NOT Web this is a discussion for a later. Anyway its worth a watching.
For years medium has been a problem yea medium that may have given it away but read on. Medium in the sense of storing music or data has been for years stored on plastic forms from tape vinyl cylinders(metal) and so on. The problem has been that this medium eventually fails Not CD yet but most tapes and so on are biodegradable(They rot or fade) this is not good. With books again the fall to pieces over time and the only way again relative to above we can progress in the 21st century is to share return the favour and be open in information, teach people what we have learnt so that we don't make the same mistakes again and again its one of the only ways in which we can progress further, become more advanced, move on to a new era.
So information needs to be shared we need a medium to store and share this information on comes the WEB a developed HTML code designed to translate and combine all languages together so we can all enjoy this information in one place. That's the WEB one of the most important inventions ever in the digital age. Most say Microsoft is to thank for this but Windows would not be needed in anyway shape or form of how we use it today if it was not for the WEB. To me Microsoft just joined the bandwagon the same way they joined the bandwagon during the 80's.
Back to medium, Lets say Microsoft go out of business or in a more recent case you try to open a word file on a windows 95 office software, you cant as with everything Microsoft make they allow you to upgrade but don't allow you to downgrade. If you save a file in office 2008 and try to load it in office 98 it wont work. Not unless you explicitly save the file to be compatible with this older format. Note here that Microsoft have removed save options to be able to use the very old format.
That's good isn't it?
No due to the fact you may wish your medium to be compatible across platforms such as Linux, OpenOffice, maybe open and save the file to a database or web etc you are reliant completely on Microsoft providing you with this compatibility. If this software company went out of business you would have difficulty recovering your data 10 years in the future. Where would you get the software from to load the file format. With open source the file format can be opened easily buy programming a new program to recover convert the file etc. Word does not provide this. Microsoft does not look like it will ever be going out of business but many companies other than Microsoft do. In the same context for this other software you have a problem. The data will never bio-degrade but will age out of its old format so in 100 years time how will we open this closed source data format.
OpenOffice is compiled for all platforms as well as open sourced so it can be compiled on anything from RISC architecture to X86 or even PPC hardware. True universal compatibility and bit-degradable proof.